NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 14/6/97 THE Volvo team was denied its first pole position of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship season at Donington Park this afternoon (Saty) when Kelvin Burt -- who looked to have the top starting slot for tomorrow's 12th round of the series firmly in his grasp -- was denied the honour in the closing seconds of official qualifying.
It was championship leader Alain Menu who bumped Burt from the pole, the Swiss Renault team leader using his last lap of the session to better Burt's time by just seven-hundredths of a second. Menu lapped Donington's National circuit in 1m 10.803s, nearly a second inside his own qualifying lap record for the Derby track.
Earlier in the day Menu had been the dominant force in qualifying for round 11 of the Auto Trader Championship. In wet track conditions he was nearly a second quicker than his nearest rival, Tim Harvey, who made the most of the weather to give Peugeot its best-ever grid position. James Thompson was third quickest for Honda (with team-mate Gabriele Tarquini back in 13th) and Menu's Renault running mate Jason Plato fourth fastest.
The Volvo team was all at sea in the wet, Rickard Rydell and Burt managing only 10th and 11th places respectively, but, come the drier second qualifying session, the duo's S40s were right back on form, Tamworth-based Burt making the most of his local knowledge of the circuit to head Menu and the rest right up to that crucial last lap. Tarquini redeemed himself also, taking third place on the grid. BBC TV cameras will transmit live and in full both of tomorrow's Auto Trader Championship races from Donington Park as part of the Sunday Grandstand show. Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Official qualifying, Donington Park, 14/6/97 Round 11 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 17.534s, 90.87mph; 2 Tim Harvey (GB), Peugeot 406, 1m 18.448s; 3 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 18.538s; 4 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna, 1m 18.555s; 5 David Leslie (GB), Nissan Primera, 1m 18.785s Round 12 1 Menu, 1m 10.803s, 99.51mph; 2 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo S40, 1m 10.877s; 3 Gabriele Tarquini (It), Honda Accord, 1m 10.973s; 4 Thompson, 1m 11.018s; 5 Plato, 1m 11.178s ---------- www.btcc.co.uk